The psychopath’s defiance and contumaciousness are often misperceived as fearlessness or nonchalance, but, in reality, there is a lot of trepidation in both. They are form of dysregulation.
Even (lazy) scholars get it wrong, this stereotype of the primary (factor 1 or F1) psychopath as fearless.
Psychopaths experience anxiety and fear even more than the rest of us do. There are several important differences, though:
1. Their brain and physiology are different. Skin conductance, brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and other markers of fear are subdued or absent altogether.
2. Things and behaviors that normal people find repulsive, shocking, or frightening elicit no emotional reaction from the psychopath: his perception of risk and his disgust response are fundamentally different. He is impulsive and reckless, but rarely considers himself as either.
Still, most psychopaths are paranoid, hypervigilant, and conspiracist: they live in a constant state of irrational terror, afraid of and worried about the innocuous and the random.
3. Finally, psychopaths misinterpret both internal and external cues, very much as autistic people do. Consequently, they mislabel and misattribute their inner dynamics. When they are afraid, they are likely to say that they are excited, for example. Psychopaths are mirror humans. The few emotions they do possess (all of which are raw, primitive, and negative) are inverted 180 degrees. Amazingly they are convinced that this inversion is normal and common.
They “love” or “like” others who are useful and only for as long as they benefit from them, one way or the other. They use the disposition and flow of material goods to gauge such sentiments.
They experience shame only when they are exposed as weak, desperate, or helpless.
They get angry when they cannot secure a goal - even a self-destructive or humiliating one. They lash out at those who would not or cannot collaborate in whatever it is they set their minds to do or to be done to them.
They fearlessly risk their lives, limbs, and fortune habitually and with total strangers - but are paranoid, anxious, and hypervigilant with their “nearest and dearest”. Intimacy and commitment are perceived as threats.
They regret and “guilt” for having failed or having been caught red-handed - but never for having hurt and harmed others. They rationalise and justify their misdeeds by contorting language to its breaking point. A psychopath never says “no”. Only shrugs and utters “why not” before s/he engages in the most unspeakable or degrading acts. Without shame, guilt, or remorse to rein them in, psychopaths are primitive, whim-driven, stochastic, bug-ridden, often intoxicated machines. They are even worse when in pursuit of a goal, however whimsical or outlandish.
When you encounter a psychopath, you come face to face with the undead: they look still alive, charming and witty and erudite - but they had actually died in their teenage years, inside and out. They age fast, their progeria terrifying to behold. Theirs is an eternal present, a dawnless night of the soulless.
Psychopaths treat their bodies and their lives as a corpse would: like decomposing trash. They are black holes: nothing escapes, not even they.
It is nothing short of horrifying to hear the winds of the psychopath’s insanity howling in the deserted hallways of his or her vacated mind.
They rot and disintegrate in slow motion, unglued by a lack of scruples and morality, a void of empathy and emotions, a howling abyss where a human should have been.
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